Running the Most Successful eCommerce Business

Nov 10, 2023 | eCommerce

eCommerceHow to Run a Successful eCommerce Business Using Cloud Apps

eCommerce is the buying and selling of goods online. Simple. This creates a larger network of selling opportunities as we sell goods and services locally, and across the globe. Resulting in businesses being able to reach a much wider audience of potential customers. It creates a more convenient and easy online shopping experience for all.

By reading this blog, we will give you the guidance you need to operate your eCommerce business more effectively and efficiently. With better planning and preparation, and with our support, you will end up with a lucrative business. We will equip you with the knowledge required when it comes to eCommerce software, integrations and the accounting aspects of your business.

Our Typical Clients…

A lot of our clients started out trading through the usual High Street stores. These clients have embraced online selling in recent years. Others started out selling their products online. Selling and promoting their goods via Amazon, eBay or their own website or using the likes of Shopify. We all know that the way this world is moving, most High Street stores need to have an online presence for survival. High Streets are dying as online sales have increased over the years. It’s a no-brainer to get involved online. If businesses do not move forward with the times, they will be left behind.

Selling online is fast-paced resulting in substantial wins. A lot of the time making those businesses grow exponentially. When businesses grow too fast they run the risk of failure due to not having the right expertise to manage their back-end finance systems, and reporting. We have helped many eCommerce businesses get back on track with their systems by taking the pressure off them. We step in and run the finances which leaves them to get on with running their businesses.

Below we will take you through the stages on how to run a successful eCommerce business….

1. Planning your eCommerce business.

eCommerce is not for the faint hearted. Setting up your eCommerce business can be quite complex, and costly. Researching the market to establish where you stand will help you to understand if there is a market for your products and how you compare to other sellers. It is all about the planning and preparation involved. The more planning and research that you do, the more chance of having a viable e-commerce business.

For example, as part of the planning and preparation stage, we help you focus on these following key areas:

  • The initial financial outlay
  • Who are your potential customers
  • Who are your competitors
  • Identifying potential selling platforms
  • Accounting software

At Blyth, we can assist you with the planning and preparation of your new online store. We provide our clients with a Business Plan service which will detail all of the above areas, plus the financial projections. This can prove to be an eye opener for most, and helps you to work towards owning a thriving e-commerce business. Get in touch to speak to one of our team.

2. Back-end systems, and what they are.

When we discuss “back-end systems”, we mean the journey taken between software packages one, two, three, etc. Basically, connecting multiple software connecting software systems so they can all have a conversation with each other. We just need to make sure they don’t fight!

Many online businesses find it impossible to only have one type of software to run their business. Often, “off the shelf” type software packages specialise in one or two areas whereas another business may need four or five software applications. Most business owners strive for that seamless end to end business process to come together. Businesses usually link or integrate different types of software to form the optimal solution they desire. Furthermore, some software systems may not speak to the other! This being the case, bespoke systems are required to be built by a specialist, from scratch. It all really depends on how complex your operations are. Back-end systems can save time.

The main operational areas of a successful eCommerce business is:

  • CRM System (Customer Relationship Manager)
  • Online Stock Management and ePOS
  • Merchant Accounts and Sellers Platforms
  • Accurate VAT, Tax and Year-End Reporting

Depending on the size and complexity of your eCommerce business, you may need to connect more online apps. On the Xero Marketplace, there are hundreds of apps to choose from. It can be confusing to ascertain which apps are right for your business. But we are here to help with that!

Check out our app stack webpage by clicking here which will give you a flavour of integrated systems. At Blyth, we can help you build your App Stack and make your systems more efficient.

3. What are selling platforms?

A selling platform is a third party company that is usually well established and attracts many visitors from across the globe on a regular basis. The selling platform will usually have the reputation to deliver goods and services on your behalf. The selling platform will usually have the reputation to deliver goods and services on your behalf. Selling platforms are a base on which you add stock to it and sell directly to your customers, using the third party, without you ever speaking to the customer. Selling platform companies will receive money directly from your customers. They will deduct their fees from the income received and transfer your net income to your bank account. 

The 3 largest eCommerce platforms are Amazon, eBay and Etsy. All of these platforms enable it’s sellers to retail their products globally. Shoppers on Amazon can browse a large inventory of products individually categorised, just as they would with a traditional online retail store. Buyers can make purchases from many of Amazon’s own brand products or third party sellers. eBay is a longstanding online marketplace which enables users to bid on items listed on auction by multiple online sellers .

Etsy is a global online marketplace where users sell hand crafted products, custom made goods and vintage items. Etsy prides itself on connecting sellers and buyers.

Shopify is another large selling platform which allows small businesses to create a full end to end shopping experience. Shopify has features to create and build your own online store; that will link to your own branded website. Shopify enables you to link your online store to your social media channels, creating even more selling opportunities. High Street stores have the option to purchase card readers and ePOS systems from Shopify, and have a live online offline presence, with live stock control management options.

4. What are Payment Merchants?

Payment merchants are hardware and software companies that accept payments electronically for your business. The world is becoming more and more cashless and we need to have other ways to accept cash for our hard-earned sales. Below, we will discuss the options available to most businesses.

Two of the largest payment platforms on the market are Stripe and PayPal. Stripe and PayPal are e-commerce friendly online payment options each have different benefits depending on your business. PayPal is a globally recognised name. It is popular due to its user friendly, and tight security features; and perfect for smaller businesses. Stripe is a more complex payment platform more suited to larger e-commerce sellers. The platform allows users to integrate Stripe fully into their online shop, meaning customers never leave your selling platform. Stripe allows for better customisations and brand integration.

For those who sell via established online platforms such as Shopify or Etsy, it’s about getting sales data out of the system and making sense of it. If you’ve got your own dedicated online store, you might want help with stock control and cloud integration. Third party apps make those processes more time efficient as there are many apps on the marketplace that do the hard work for you. No more duplicated processes and less chance of human error.

Historically, the process was convoluted, long-winded and tiresome. We would need to get manual PDF reports and have to re-key all the sales and purchases data held within the likes of Amazon into a spreadsheet. Now we have cloud accounting systems like Xero, that will talk to the e-commerce platform and will feed that information in daily – Amazon FBA to Xero. This means your financial data is as up to date as possible, without many flaws.

Blyth Accountants & eCommerce

Here at Blyth Accountants, it is all about the back-end setup and continual support. We understand how crucial it is to have an effective system. If the set up has failed you, we can fix this to make sure you are on the right path. We will fix the integrations to ensure a smooth end to end reporting, resulting in delivering real-time information when you need it.

As we are fast approaching the busy season, yes, Christmas, we know how easy it is to forget the back-end systems that we talk about. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if you didn’t need to consider this when you’re extremely busy making sales at this time of year?

Finally, the last thing any e-commerce business owner needs at the busiest time of the year, is added stress. We believe your online programmes should be operating smoothly and doing all the hard work for you. More and and more consumers are ditching the high street in favour of online shopping. It’s important to have your back-end integrations working their hardest to free you up.

 

Technology is great and fun, and is at the forefront of our business operations. We want that to be the case for our clients. We like to get into the nitty gritty of systems to provide the optimal solution for our e-commerce clients.

Why don’t you get in touch to discuss the options available to you.

 

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